What’s media stacking and how can I use it?

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For months now I’ve been seeing stats the increasing number of us that watch television and text or watch television and work on the computer. This is known as media stacking. I do this all the time and I took and informal poll of my students and 100% of my students do this. This of course begs the question; how can I take advantage of this?

Assuming you’re a business you can utilize this behavior in the following ways: (If you’re and individual, your significant other will grow even more weary that they have less of your attention and you won’t be able to “use this”. In fact it will end up being used against you. Trust me.)

  1. TV commercials may work once again. When people media stack they’re not actively watching TV. It’s passive and the main queue to look at the TV is the audio. So, if you’re launching a campaign, make sure the audio plays to your target audience. (Please DO NOT use the Dealing Doug style.) Oh and don’t worry about people not seeing your commercial because they DVRd it. They’re not doing this during something they’ve DVRd. If they recorded it; they’re watching it. In a strange way, this may make television advertising during crappier shows a better financial decision. They have it on because it’s background noise with the the potential of seeing something interesting.
  2. Use TV commercials to drive online traffic and SMS campaigns. People are in front of the boob-tube with their iPads/laptops and their mobile devices. Along with the audio to get them to focus on the TV, place your URL (social or Old&Busted), SMS (text Cooloffer to 456734) or QR code in a prominent location on the screen and leave it there for the entirety of the commercial. No it’s not pretty, but people are used to not pretty. They’ve been looking at the Internet for a long time.
  3. Include hashtags (#nameofshow) at the bottom right-hand side of the screen to push online conversation. People in the TV industry refer to this as a bug and it would be a great way to instigate conversations on Twitter.

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I'm an Associate Teaching Professor of Digital Marketing at the Daniels College of Business, University of Denver. I also consult with startups and established brands. I'm currently focused on artificial intelligence, cognitive neuroscience and culture. I am married to an amazing woman and have two incredible children. I was raised in Colorado and spend my free time with family, biking, snowboarding and going to the Pacific Ocean to SCUBA dive and/or surf. I'm passionate about architecture, design, street art, photography and the art that tattooing has evolved into.

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